Blackwelder Survival Of The Fittest
Blackwelder release their debut album Survival Of The Fittest on GoldenCore Records / ZYX Music on the 24th of April.
The brainchild of guitarist Andrew Szucs who was writing the follow up to Seven Seraphim’s "Believe in Angels" and if I am honest know nothing about but when you see who he called up to join Blackwelder then you will sit up and take notice.
First to join was Bjorn Englen on bass (Dio Disciple's and Yngwie Malmsteen) and then the vocal talents of Ralf Scheepers from Primal Fear and then on drums Aquiles Priester now of Primal Fear and ex of Angra.
Blackwelder were born and set about recording a debut that is full of modern powerful power metal with big riffs and fast fingered guitar solo's ,pounding double bass drums and add to that Scheeper's vocal range and some huge choruses that don't just rely on power but are at times highly melodic.
That isn't to say that it is all heads down tunes as there are enough progressive metal influences dotted here and there to keep a Dream Theater fan happy.
Opener The Night Of The New Moon sets the tone with a big guitar riff and Aquiles driving the song with his double bass drumming.As Ralf's vocal kicks in the pace slows a little with a big stop start guitar riff that picks up around the chorus.Andrew's first guitar solo shows off his quality with it not just being a flurry of notes and a very melodic tone to it.
Spaceman starts all guitar riff and drums before the first verse has a keys backing with guitar down in the mix before Ralf yells Spaceman with the guitar melody backing it up and pounding drums.Wow!! Andrew shreds the guitar solo on this one with a lengthy mixed up guitar solo that as you think it is finishing it kicks back in with some double bass drum accompaniment from Aquiles.
Adeturi is an instrumental with flurries of guitar solo's and plenty of time changes thrown into the mix.
Freeway Of Life is a pounding guitar riff heavy rocker with some Hammond organ depth to the song with Ralf doing his best Rob Halford impression on the verse before a highly melodic chorus.The guitar solo from Andrew takes the pace down a couple of notches at the beginning before developing into a double bass drum pounding run to the finish.
Inner Voice again has a Hammond organ depth to the musical onslaught with an Iron Maiden style early riff.Ralf sings a highly melodic chorus with Andrew adding his guitar melody to the mix and love the way as Ralf goes up a notch so does the guitar melody line too.
With Flying Colors is a Judas Priest style double bass drum pounding rocker but with added Hammond flashes along with the main guitar riff.On the verse you would swear it was Rob Halford at his finest roar before a change in Ralf's tone for the chorus.Andrew nails a perfect for the song guitar solo.
Remember The Time has a stop start guitar riff over gothic keys with double bass drumming from Aquiles before a quieter interlude which gives Ralf a chance to show the full range of his vocals.The band kick in on a slower pace than earlier before the chorus as the song really ebbs and flows from double bass back to just a picked riff and Ralf's vocal.Andrew's guitar solo is backed along with Aquiles double bass as the pace rises again.
Play Some More starts out all heavy rock onslaught but as Ralf's vocal kicks in it slows before exploding pre chorus with again Hammond backing and Aquiles again shining with his double bass drumming.Another highly melodic chorus.
Oriental Spell and Judgement Day are fine album closers with big guitar riffs and double bass pounding and Ralf's voice heading to the stratosphere.
Blackwelder have produced a killer debut cd with some outstanding musical performances and have set a benchmark for heavy rock music in 2015.